Introduction: James - Your First Arduino Robot

Picture of James - Your First Arduino Robot

For more Robotics Tutorials see my website here:
For awesome videos about robots and 3D printing go here:

Thank you so much everyone for voting for James in the Toy Contest! He got first place and I won a $500 Shapeways voucher! Expect to see more robot instructables from me in the future! :D

So you want to make a robot? Don't know where to start? How about you learn how to make a robot with me and make James!
James was made as part of a Robotics Class I teach to a few high school students.

I called him James in memory of my late Grandfather James Manning Edwards who passed away 14-3-2013. He loved teaching and helping kids and died doing what he loved, hopefully this James will carry on that legacy.

Step 1: Gather Your Components and Tools

Picture of Gather Your Components and Tools

For this build we will be using the Arduino Uno with a Prototyping Shield. You could use whichever Arduino you want with its own Prototyping Shield or Breadboard.

If you are looking to buy this Prototyping Shield search on ebay for “arduino prototype shield uno” and you should see it. Alternatively you can buy a similar looking one from Core Electronics:

Step 2: Planning

Picture of Planning

On a piece of paper sketch out a rough sketch of the shape you want your robot body to have. It is always best to have an idea of what you want your robot to look like before you begin its construction.

Next you will want to sketch the shape of the robot body onto the protective sheet of the acrylic, this can be done easily with a pencil. If you do not have acrylic you could use; balsa wood, ply-board, foam-core, cardboard plastic containers or even food containers! You will also need to mark out where you want your servo to go. To cut out the hole for the servo drill four holes on each corner where you want to put the servo, this is to allow the blade of the saw to be easily maneuverered, preventing finger loss.

Step 3: Arduino Mounting Holes

Picture of Arduino Mounting Holes

The Arduino will be attached to the robot body using M3 screws and spacers so you will also mark where the mounting holes are on the Arduino so they can be drilled out. Once all of this has been done cut out the robot shape on a bandsaw, if you don’t have a bandsaw you can use a coping saw.

Step 4: Ultrasonic Mounting Bracket

Picture of Ultrasonic Mounting Bracket

Step 5: Drivetrain

Picture of Drivetrain
If you would like to learn more about DC Motors and Servos and how to use them with Arduino watch my tutorial below:

Step 6: Checkpoint

Picture of Checkpoint

So far this is what my robot looks like.

Step 7: Attaching the Arduino

Picture of Attaching the Arduino

Step 8: Wiring the Motor Driver

Picture of Wiring the Motor Driver
To learn more about the L293D Motor Driver Chip and how to use it with Arduino watch my tutorial below:

Step 9: Connecting the Ultrasonic Sensor

Picture of Connecting the Ultrasonic Sensor
If you would like to learn more about the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor and how to use it with Arduino watch my tutorial below:

Step 10: Power

Picture of Power

Step 11: Code

Here is some basic code to get you started. I strongly encourage you to edit it and make it better once you have learned how it works.
To make the use of the ultrasonic sensor easier I have used the new ping library.

Step 12: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

Upload the test code and that’s it! You have made your first robot!


RiyaVader (author)2015-05-08

Thank you for your tutorial! My Mimibot is ready. \(^_^)/

jsmitha (author)RiyaVader2017-10-04

Hey riyavader plz sent me code to

amildileep (author)RiyaVader2015-05-28

Hii am amil to make robott..pls give me some idea to make created the program...pls help me and shear to me u r idea .to make a new project. my mail id...

Entertainment 4Y (author)2017-10-03

Please send the code to
Thanks in advance

Poketech Guy (author)2016-11-13

what is the servo's pin?? where should i connect it??

TaseenR1 (author)2016-07-27
Is the Arduino Uno R3 ATmega328P ATMEGA16U2 Compatible with Prototype Prototyping Shield ProtoShield For Arduino UNO R3 1PCS With mini Breadboard KG305 . is there any specification for the motor driver?

miniscientist made it! (author)2016-01-15

this is an edited code for people using a adafruit motor shield which is easier to use

RickyB36 (author)miniscientist2016-06-22

Can you help me for the wiring please i use the adafruit when my driver get supply from 9v batteries and my arduino get supply from my laptop it's running well but when i change the supply to my arduino with 9v batteries it's not running well so please help just send me the wiring to my email

MohamedS232 (author)2016-04-26

hi where is the final code please?

biliron (author)MohamedS2322016-05-04

GauravJ18 (author)2016-02-24

hey, its a nice tutorial. Having a prob i.e I have got two DC GEARBOX motors and I need to make the drivetrain now. But, not getting how to fix them out to make work. Please help me performing this task. Waiting for a quick reply.


moerlien999 (author)2016-01-24

Thanks for the help. I used your ideas and other inspirations to build mine. Great instruct able. I did find using a cell phone rechargeable battery pack saves some steps and I can just use the usb cable that I used to transfer the sketch with to connect it.

miniscientist made it! (author)2016-01-15

this is an edited code for people using a adafruit motor shield which is easier to use

miniscientist made it! (author)2016-01-15

this is an edited code for people using a adafruit motor shield which is easier to use

miniscientist made it! (author)2016-01-15

this is an edited code for people using a adafruit motor shield which is easier to use

ElectronicsWithMark (author)2015-12-19

May I know where the ultrasonic sensor is hooked up?

DenisR9 (author)2015-12-05

The ultrasonic sensor is constantly at zero. Any help?

Slk_Stephane (author)2015-09-11


westsoccer (author)2015-06-28

can you send me better pictures of the wiring it is really hard to see where each wire is connected to. My email is Thanks

Slk_Stephane (author)westsoccer2015-09-11

There is a video (Tutorial #7) and at 10:20 the wiring starts.

westsoccer (author)westsoccer2015-08-02

no Slk_Stephane did you?

Slk_Stephane (author)westsoccer2015-09-10


Slk_Stephane (author)westsoccer2015-06-30

Did you get any help

Dirruk (author)2015-09-04

Made it! Well, sort of... I left the servo out and used the turn left and turn right option to scan. But it worked! This was my first arcuino project and I think I can give this robot a feature to measure its own battery charge and auto-dock when it gets hungry now. If it works I'll make an instructable too!

indianSuperman (author)2015-08-07

I'm looking for a website or article that can help me learn more about the basics of Arduino robotics, I don't want to go into building one just yet, can someone help me out? Thanks!

nodoubtman (author)2015-07-21

error on the download code page.

thank you!


Vince A.R (author)2015-07-20

Please post the code... The link of the code isn't working, thanks^-^

swiftquail (author)2015-07-04

can i make it with a 3-pin ping.

Slk_Stephane (author)2015-06-28

Can someone please help me wire it up

westsoccer (author)2015-06-27

can you please put the code in the comments? I am new to coding and im having trouble figuring it out.

T0BY (author)2015-06-26

This is a lovely project which you have described beautifully! I look forward to trying it out myself.

sami2000 (author)2015-05-21

hey why dont use fritzing for wiring

raptorcow (author)2015-05-21

Will it work with a 74hc59n chip?

raptorcow (author)2015-05-13

Im getting this error

avrdude: verification error, first mismatch at byte 0x0000

0x62 != 0x0c

avrdude: verification error; content mismatch

AfrizalC (author)2015-05-10

hello sir, i want to make a search tool avoider robot voice signals, no one knows its C program code.?
please help

wmada (author)2015-05-06

anyone who needs a step by step walkthru look on youtube. komicbookkid228 a video that will walk you thru whole process

wmada (author)2015-04-29

msg me at

raptorcow (author)wmada2015-05-04

I emailed you. I had emailed you 5 days ago but I missed the j copying the address...

wmada (author)2015-04-29

@raptorcow email me and i can help ya out. i got no help from this instructable. took me weeks of playing around. parms videos help alot as do

raptorcow (author)wmada2015-04-29

I messaged you.

wmada (author)2015-04-29

mission success thanks parm .. robot sometimes.hits wall need to fix

raptorcow (author)2015-04-28

Could take a clear picture of where each of the brown wires go. This Instructables pictures are horrible. I need an aerial shot or at least a clear focused shot of the wiring steps.

raptorcow (author)raptorcow2015-04-28

I need to see where the brown wires come back to the bread board. I can see where they connect but the image cuts off the top of them so i cant see where they come from. Some one please do this

wmada (author)2015-04-26

why does only one motor spin? im usibg dc motor

wmada (author)2015-04-25

honestly can someone help me out.... i cant get this working. does anyone have a diagram maybe that would help me out. is the code working? i can get servo working and thats it. i built another robot but it doesnt have servo

wmada (author)2015-04-23

i am soooo frusterated i rebuilt it and still motors dont turn. i tested n they work... what am i doing wrong. im using 9v battery directly into arduino and a 4 pack of aa energizers hook to pin 8 n ground wtf

raptorcow (author)2015-04-21

Can someone make a schematic of the wiring? Also can I just use a

instead of all this wiring on the breadboard

ThinhN1 (author)2015-04-18

code ???



ChaitanyaS (author)2015-04-14

how much torque is requred to move the body of robot i planning to buy gearmotors for the purpose but no understanding which one to buy i have options to buy

1: 200 rpm with 1kg /cm torque

2:3.5 rpm with 3kg/cm

wmada (author)2015-04-10

i am.using 74hc595n is that the issue

About This Instructable




Bio: Robot fanatic.YouTuber. Robotics teacher.
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